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Empowerment through diversity: A cybersecurity professional’s perspective

In partnership with myGwork

By Dylan Mann-Hazell

Composite of two smiling people
Callum Fraser, who also goes by Abi (Image: Provided)

Stepping into Callum Fraser’s shoes is a glorious glimpse of a world where resilience and authenticity shine. From his humble roots in a small village in Oxfordshire to his current role as a cybersecurity consultant at IT and business consulting services company CGI, Callum tells the story of how he overcame significant hurdles to proudly embrace his gender identity and thrive in a new work setting.

Early aspirations

Brought up in a village near Didcot, Callum’s childhood aspirations included becoming a spy, a detective, and a superhero. Unable to gather a reference from Batman himself, he explored his options and eventually joined the police force, fuelled with a desire to contribute positively to society, fulfilling one of his childhood dreams and becoming a detective.

All the while, Callum was navigating his gender identity. He shared his experiences of discovering his identity on the trans/non-binary spectrum, leaning towards being bi-gender. Though primarily presenting as male, Callum also identifies under a female presentation, Abi. There’s a profound and refreshing sense of self-awareness throughout the unfolding journey.

“I do not know what came first – the desire to dress and present as feminine and be seen as feminine, or the part of me, the persona, the aspect of me that I refer to as Abi. And after a long time, I’ve decided I really don’t care. That’s just me, that’s who I am.” In a pivotal life moment, Callum was outed while serving in the police force . Colleagues found videos of Abi winning a transgender beauty pageant, leading to a mixed response from her team at work. Whilst some colleagues were supportive of Abi, some were wary… a wariness that creeped into on occasion, uncomfortable discussions with people who had no understanding of trans/bi-gender identity. He was also subject to public hate when a British tabloid antagonistically reported on a ‘Bring Yourself to Work’ panel where Callum and Abi’s identities were discussed.

Overcoming obstacles

During these challenging times, Callum found support and empowerment through initiatives including becoming the chairperson of the Transgender Staff Support Association. More acceptance and accommodation were also found within the cybercrime division where he would eventually work. This shift allowed Abi the space to express herself authentically without significant obstacles.  During his time serving, Callum managed to positively change the way that his employer considered non-binary individuals, and even managed to get a commendation for her work as Abi in a serious investigation.

Finding authenticity

By the time he was employed at CGI, Callum felt he could live authentically. Despite intending to take a break from diversity initiatives, Callum found himself quickly drawn back into such efforts within the organisation. He highlights the support he received from friends and family as crucial motivators to his continual advocacy for inclusivity and his desire to uplift those lacking the support system he had.

“I’m still one of the people that is lucky enough to have the love and support of friends and family outside of work,” said Callum. “If I can stick my head above the parapet and help people that don’t necessarily have the same support network outside that I do, then that’s what I’ve got to do.”

Though still acclimating to the new role, Callum is proud to report that experiences presenting as Abi at the organisation have been encouraging. She’s yet to encounter any issues, remarking upon CGI’s supportive environment. Initiatives such as staff associations, Pride events, and visible messages of inclusivity continue to promote the authenticity that drives CGI.

Advocating for continued equality

Reflecting on the evolving societal attitudes towards diversity and inclusion throughout his career, Callum observed a positive shift toward genuine progress rather than mere box-ticking. He attributed this change to a generational transition where younger people are bringing fresh, open-minded perspectives focused on equality. Despite this progress, Callum acknowledges ongoing challenges, particularly in the face of increased pushback against trans rights. He urges for the promotion of marginalised voices:

“I wish there were immediate improvements that I could trot out and suggest,” he said. “But it’s just to continue plugging away, ignoring those who are trying to use their voice for ill intent and promoting those people who want to promote equality, diversity, inclusivity, and all-round awesomeness.”

CGI is a proud partner of myGwork, the LGBTQ+ business community. Find out more about job opportunities at CGI.